What happens at Reiki workshops depends on the level of learning, since there are three degrees of Reiki study. In workshops that focus on the first degree, those who are new to the ancient art learn about its history and principles, study the basic hand positions and practices, and are taught how to heal themselves. In intermediate-level Reiki workshops, students mainly learn how to enhance their powers and heal others distantly using special symbols. In the third and last degree, advanced students work with master teachers to learn how to become master teachers and practitioners themselves.
In beginner-level Reiki workshops, the goal is to learn the basics of Reiki and practice it casually. At these sessions, students are taught the history and five principles of this ancient Japanese form of spiritual healing and relaxation, and shown the various hand positions and Reiki applications. They may receive Reiki treatments themselves, in order to understand what recipients experience. They may also be introduced to chakras and auras, and taught the proper way to meditate. At the end of this stage, students are expected to be able to heal themselves and can begin to heal others.
In the second degree, students study the ancient Reiki symbols, which are the key to distance healing. The symbols are used to form a temporary connection between the healer and the recipient, so that Reiki energy can be sent through time and space. More is also taught about chakras, auras, and meditation at the Reiki workshops of this level.
The third-level workshop is for those who are looking to become Reiki masters, but not all students are able to complete the third level. Once a person receives Reiki certification as a master, he can then teach others the three degrees. He can also attune others to the different Reiki levels. An attunement is given from teacher to student at each degree to open up the student to the various techniques that are being studied. For example, at the second level, an attunement is given to strengthen the ability for Reiki to flow through the student, which better enables him to carry out distance healing.
There is no official accreditation for Reiki workshops, so the experiences they provide can be quite varied. They can also range in length, from sessions that run for a couple of weeks to sessions that last for months or even years. Reiki workshops are even available online, although traditionalists argue that these lessons are not legitimate because attunements must be given in person. Organizations such as the U.K. Reiki Foundation do not recognize online Reiki teaching.